Why I hate politics

There’s an old jibe directed at the passionate, idealistic revolutionary:  “Oh, him, he loves humanity – it’s people he can’t stand.”  I always reverse it:  I like people, it’s humanity that repels me.  That’s why politics is so depressing – it is collective action by humanity.  One-to-one, you can reason with people.  In politics, the game is to win, to gain power, as in warfare, and individuals are the least of it.  The compromises and contradictions can be disturbing.

A case in point:  The special Senate race for the seat vacated by Ted Kennedy on his death.  Martha Coakley, the Democrat is being pressed into a surprisingly close race by a Republican challenger.  Obama is stumping for her, mindful of the tremendous importance of maintaining a Dem lock on the Senate in this day of 60-votes-or-nothing.    Why am I so troubled?

Martha Coakley played a despicable role in the ruination of individual lives in the aftermath of the daycare witch hysteria of the 80s.  She refused to release Gerald Amirault long after it was very clear that he was a victim of a modern day Salem witchcraft hysterial episode.  His case, and others related to it, are some of the more shocking miscarriages of justice to be found in recent history.

Does she deserve to be Senator?  I’d still vote for her because I despise the Republican party and its stalwart who is “running against healthcare.”  Does he deserve to be Senator?  Not in my book.  That’s party politics, the balance of power, the greater good of the country.  After all, I support Obama’s program.  Still, it makes me ill that Coakley isn’t being called to account for her actions.

Right-wing, conservative, Republican critics will, of course, talk as though this cynical realpolitk is limited to the Democrats, the liberals, the Left, yada, yada, yada, and that they alone understand principle, and the importance of the individual.  Utter rubbish.  They make their own horrid compromises and amoral calculations, not to mention that they pursue policies that run roughshod over these things. That’s politics.


2 Responses to Why I hate politics

  1. Politics in the U.S. serves a purpose. It’s about getting action underway in a congress and that includes changing directions or undertaking new courses of action. For us as voters, we try to elect the person we think can best get the action underway or accomplished that we personally feel is best. That means holding one’s nose while casting a ballot most of the time.

  2. lichanos says:

    Politics everywhere is about power: who has it; and what to what ends it is employed. Personalities make a difference in politics, as in history, but that’s a contingency. Power is the game.

    The only people who don’t hold their noses when they vote are those who delude themselves, those who find themselves (they think) in complete agreement, by chance, with the candidate, or those who are focused on one-issue contests.

    Voting is always an exercise in choosing a representative, and such a person can never be identical with all his or her constituents. It’s one of those recurring moral dilemmas of democracy.

    I’m glad I don’t live in MA. I don’t think I’ve ever had to face such a stinky situtation myself.

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